The Road to Mongu

Map of Zambia in the museum in Livingstone

Just so you know where we were headed, here is a map. If you double click on the map it will enlarge.

We traveled on The Great West Road traveling through Kafue National Park then to Mongu and then crossing a road that has been under construction twice. Zambia first contracted Kuwait to build the road from Mongu to the Zambezi River the first time.

Zambia has secured a loan (to be repaid with interest) of about K1.3 trillion (US$350 million), approximately 4 per cent of the national budget, for the construction of the approximately 74 km road about 50 km of which passes through the Barotse Flood Plains to connect Mongu to Kalabo. The road has already cost Zambia more; on two occasions initial parts of the road have been washed away and money gone down the drain (loans). There has been no functional road between the two towns and consequently it takes four or more hours of rugged 4×4 driving on some of the worst possible terrain in the dry season (May-November) while during the rainy season (December-March) the plains flood and it becomes impassable to vehicles except boats while people shift up lands.

Now the Chinese have been contracted to build the road. It is basically a large sand dune that you have to drive over with hills and water and tall grasses. Once you get to the Zambezi River you cross on a Pontoon Boat and then drive again in sand until you reach the paved road to Kalabo. The distance from Mongu to Kalabo is 75K and the whole distance from Lusaka to Kalabo is approximately 700K. You really should have a 4 x 4 like we had last year but this year Frederick had borrowed a Honda CRV for the trip.

Pontoon Boat to cross the Zambezi River

Carl was excited to cross this road as he loves his ATV but I think this was even more than he expected.

I am getting a head of myself.

We set off at about 6:15am after we packed, and I mean packed the car with all of the luggage, food, a case of water and our lunch for the day. I was hoping to make it to Kalabo to cook dinner for everyone. When you Google map the journey it approximated the trip at about 12 hours.

The trip was fairly uneventful and I sat in the back as I can be quite chatty. I thought it would be best so that I could talk and both Carl & Frederick could hear me. I loved learning about the country and running all of my ideas by Frederick.

We made good time to the gates of Kafue and stopped to use the facilities and Frederick ate his now really messy sandwich.

You have to pay 1000KW to use the facilities.

This is the small area with shops at the gate to Kafue National Park.

We passed a huge cotton truck and many cotton holding compounds. I was surprized as I didn’t know Western Zambia grew cotton.




As we entered the park Carl got out his camera and the video camera hoping to see the big 5. I didn’t have high hopes as I only saw Elephants and a few antelope the previous year. We were pleaseantly surprized!


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